Bhubaneswar, Dec 30 (PTI) Opposition BJP and Congress Sunday hit out at the Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha accusing it of cheating farmers by announcing KALIA scheme after rejecting demands like like farm loan waiver. Also Read - Chhattisgarh Naxal Encounter: After Massive Search Operation, Bodies of 17 Security Personnel Recovered, Say Police

Senior BJP leader and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme ignored basic issues like price, pension and farm loan waiver, Odisha Congress president, Niranjan Patnaik said it was aimed to fool the farmers ahead of polls. Also Read - Chhattisgarh Urban Body Election Results: Congress Wins 3 Municipal Bodies

Dismissing opposition allegations, Odisha Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera said KALIA scheme will help all farmers, including small, marginal and share-croppers. It will also help wipe out demand of loan waiver as farmers can get regular assistance. Also Read - Dantewada Assembly Bypoll Results 2019: Congress Wins by Margin of 11,331 Votes

Behera accused opposition parties of indulging in spreading false propaganda as they are afraid that KALIA scheme will become popular among farmers.

Claiming that Naveen Patnaik government was not sincere about helping farmers, Pradhan said KALIA scheme is an attempt to grab votes by misleading farmers in the state where assembly elections are due along with Lok Sabha polls early next year.

Mounting a scathing attack on the state government, the Union Minister said the ruling BJD has “failed” to keep its promise of providing bonus to farmers and irrigation facilities in additional 10 lakh hectare of land.

The BJP leader further claimed that farmers faced pest menace amid damage caused to crops in many areas by Brown Plant Hoppers (chakada).

Padhan also took a dig at the BJD government over the name of the scheme and claimed there was an attempt to exploit the sentiments of the people by linking it to Lord Jagannath, who is known as Kalia by the devotees all over.

“KALIA scheme is noting but a ploy to mislead and woo voters,” he said.

The Petroleum Minster said the Centres Ujjwala Yojana scheme has so far covered 35 lakh women in Odisha, while 10 lakh more beneficiaries will be added in next three months.

The OPCC president accused the BJD government of trying to fool farmers with the help of KALIA scheme keeping an eye on the twin elections.

Patnaik alleged the BJD failed to keep its promise to provide bonus over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy and other farm produce.

On Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s contention that loan waiver will lead to bankruptcy in economy, the OPCC chief sought to know as to how many times has the BJD government waive off loan of farmers during last 19 years …

Patnaik further said that Odisha’s farmers are going to Chhattisgarh to sell their paddy after hike in MSP by the new Congress government.

“Congress promises that Odisha’s farmers will see better days very soon,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.